I want to talk to you today about how our Ontario criminal court system both at the Ontario Court of Justice level and the Superior Court of Justice level has been adapting to new technology and modernizing our court system.
First of all, this is long overdue. We were living in our court system in the 19th and 20th century and what Covid-19 the pandemic has caused us is to say look we really need to get some virtual hearings, some virtual guilty pleas all of this technology that we’ve never had we need to bring in and the courts are doing this. I mean there is now an opportunity to do electronic filing, electronic disclosure, designations electronically, and you know the court right now wants to have as few people in court buildings as possible. So first of all from March until now we’ve been doing virtual guilty pleas, we’ve been doing virtual bail hearings. This is what the technology we have. So they’ve spent millions of dollars on this and it’s a great thing. Our system really needed to be modernized. We are even offering virtual trials right now which is interesting. July 6th trials resumed in person on that date in a limited way. In each courthouse they renovated you know, 1 or 2 of the trials courts and by the way there’s many trial courts in most courthouses so it’s very limited but we really need to keep taking advantage of this. I’m very open to this. Many criminal lawyers are. I mean some of the old aren’t. They would like to return the new ways but the reality is we were stuck in the 19th and 20th century and it needed to change. This is one of the positive outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic and you know, one of the many reasons for doing this aside from it needed to be done is we need to avoid a delay in the court system and now you have an opportunity to still move your files. So I’m hoping the courts continue with this. They’re very committed to it. I’ve been going to town hall meetings with the Ministry of Attorney General and Judges, etc. We’ve been discussing this and most players are very open to this. I’m very happy that the government has chosen this route and I hope we continue in the future.